Known as the Manchester of South India for its textile industry – may not seem hip on the surface, but if you give it a little time, you will find it’s cut from a different cloth. The city is brilliantly located – on the way to scenic hill stations like Ooty and Coonoor—friendly enough and very liveable, with an unhurried pace. There are many tourist places near Coimbatore that you can visit on your trip. Drop by soon before the rest of the country cotton on.
Best time to visit: September to March is an excellent time to visit Coimbatore as the weather remains cool and comfortable.
How to reach
By Air: Coimbatore airport lies about 15 km from the center of the city. IndiGo operates non-stop weekly flights between Coimbatore and Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai.
By Train: Coimbatore junction is the prime railway station in the city that connects the city with rest of India.
By Bus: It has a large network of government buses as well as private owned buses, connecting it to the other parts of the country.
Getting around: There is a vast network of buses run by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) and other private operators running within the city. Auto-rickshaws are also a popular mode of transport along with private cabs like Uber, Ola Cabs and TaxiforSure.
A chic and turquoise little restaurant on Race Course Road. They offer global cuisine and are known for their mushroom risotto and their delicious Oreo cookie tart. Try and snag a table on one of their supper theatre nights, for some added drama to your fine dining experience.
Life is too short for bad coffee. And the filter coffee at any of the Annapoorna restaurants in Coimbatore is excellent; the owners take their coffee as seriously as the French do. Other reasons to visit are the rose milk and the south Indian tiffin, particularly at the RS Puram outlet if you can; it’s been impossible for anyone to replicate their menu.
Chin Chin does unabashedly Indo-Chinese food. Their fried ice-cream is sensational: it’s quite simply rock-solid, frozen ice-cream dipped in a crazy batter and deep fried. Possibly the most decadent dessert you can ever have.
This little restaurant serves authentic Kongunadu cuisine, so good that Narain Karthikeyan is a regular. The simple biryani, has been elevated to an art form here, and guests must also spare some appetite for the pallipalayam koli, kothu parota together with a sprinkling of Eno salts.
The city is a haven for textile lovers. While label junkies may hit a brick wall, you can’t go wrong if you’re looking for an exquisite saree or some metres of pure silk.
VKR Woman, Kamaraj Road: From handwoven kurtas to organic cotton and hand-picked handlooms sourced directly from weavers across India, the environmentally-conscious shopper will feel at home here. Explore their mind-boggling range of beautiful fabrics: Ajrak, Kalamkari and Matka silks, to name a few. Your Mom, back home, will be thrilled with this unexpected addition to her collection.
Ramraj Cottons, Mangalam Road: Everyone knows Ramraj Cotton does the best dhotis. What isn't well-known is that they stock the crispest cotton fabrics. Ask for their whites. And then make a shirt out of it from your neighbourhood darzi.
PSR Silks, Ram Nagar: This is the kind of store most of us would open if only we had half a conscience or at least six yards of it. The owner, PS Rangasami had humble beginnings: he began as a weaver. Years later, he brought several villages under his fold by training master weavers and giving back to his community. The result is an exquisite range of sarees, the kind that makes a trousseau brilliant and heartfelt.
A-1 Chips, multiple locations: When you’re in Coimbatore, you can forget about Pringles and Lays. Stock up on chips from any one of the A1 outlets in Coimbatore. Tapioca, banana, potato—they do them all. Take a few bags back home, but pack them well if you don’t want them to break before you get back home.
The Residency Towers, Avinashi Road Centrally located to almost everything, The Residency Towers is as friendly as the town itself. It is one of the best hotels in Coimbatore. The main draw is that it doesn’t pretend to be a posh hotel and its loyalists are fine with that. The food is unusually good: whether it’s Afghan Grill’s North-West Frontier fare or the Kongunadu cuisine at Pavilion. The hotel is popular with relatives of patients admitted to Ganges Hospital - one of the country’s most famous orthopaedic hospitals.
Aloft Coimbatore Singanallur This is the closest luxury hotel to the airport and to the city’s IT hub, TIDEL Park. The clientele here is a well-heeled mix of locals as well as textile buyers and business travellers from abroad. Come dinner time, try the hummus and fried pita at Estia, the Mediterranean restaurant.
Vivanta by Taj – Surya, Race Course Road Shards of stone are laid out at the entrance to bring the sun inside the hotel. It’s a nice take on the name, Surya. The Dalai Lama and Shah Rukh Khan are some famous personalities who have been guests at Vivanta by Taj - Surya. Karthikeyan is a regular, as most of his family functions are held here. Guests mustn’t leave without sampling Latitude’s idlis, which are fantastic. Red Pearl gives Coimbatore an authentic Chinese experience.
Zone by the Park, Avinashi Road This funky, contemporary hotel describes itself as a hotel that’s ‘Social by Design’. The rooms have free Wi-fi, flat-screens, iPod docks and minibars. They’re all controlled by smart technology which saves your preferences whether it's the temperature or your choice of television channels. Loyalists can also save these for future visits across any Zone hotel in other cities.
Le Méridien Coimbatore, Avinashi Road The Tamil Nadu suite at Le Meridien, inspired by Chettinad architecture, is where Prime Minister Narendra Modi stayed while campaigning in this part of the country. The hotel has 55,000sq ft of banqueting space, ideal for all those endless conferences. When it comes to dining, there’s Peacock for Indian cuisine, Ponzu for Asian fare, Favola for Italian and a cigar lounge too. The possibilities are endless.
Marudhamalai Hill Temple: Among Coimbatore’s tourist places, you can visit famous temples that date back to 1500AD. One such renowned temple is Marudhamalai Hill Temple located at the height of 500 feet on the Western Ghats. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, the temple boasts of Dravidian style architecture and a visual treat for the eyes. Other temples include Perur Siva Temple, Eachanari Vinayagar Temple, Anubhavi Subramaniar Temple and Vellingiri Hill Temple.
Monkey Falls: Coimbatore is also home to ample waterfallls. Among all, the stunning Monkey falls is a must visit. Falling from a height of 60feet, it’s a popular spot for trekking and picnic. You can also visit Kovai Kutralam Falls which is equally famous stunning.
Ooty: Situated at a distance of 89km from Coimbatore, Ooty is considered to be one of the best hill stations in India. It’s a great escape from the city if you want to explore a picturesque picnic spot.
Coonoor: It is just 18 km away from Coimbatore boasting of a wide range of birds, wildflowers and Nilgiri tea. One of the must thing to try is the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (Toy Train) which is worth an experience as the train run amidst the Nilgiris.
The average Coimbatorean may be a picture of calm—undoubtedly because of his visits to the transcendental Isha Yoga Center—but he does indulge in a nocturnal activity or two. One of them is dining in a natural cave at Kurumba Village Resort, an hour or so via the Nilgiri mountain railway, in Coonoor. Eerie but this is as close to wild dining as you can get. The adventurist should check into Camp Splendour near Udumalpet and sign up for a visit to the crocodile farm, a spot of hot-air ballooning, try coracle rafting or experience a dinner with friends around a campfire.